The China pavilion surprised me by hitting it out of the park at Food & Wine this year so I was eager to see what they would do for the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. So when the festival opened (and I got back into town after Thanksgiving) it was one of the first Holiday Kitchens that I visited.
China's Shanghai Holiday Kitchen has 4 food items this year – all savory unless you count the fortune cookies that come with them.
- Pork and Vegetable Egg Rolls (Kid Friendly) ($4.25)
These are egg rolls. I have nothing more to say about them except that if you like egg rolls, and you're in the mood to eat a couple, you should buy them.
- Mongolian Beef Bao Bun and Fortune Cookie ($6.50)
This was good enough. Mongolian beef and bao rarely taste bad. But after the incredible duck bao at Food & Wine (not to mention several other killer bao appearances between China and Japan at recent festivals) this was a bit disappointing. It's just kind of there. It's good – well seasoned meat with green onions on a soft bao, but there's nothing really interesting about it.
- Celebration Barbecue Pork with Steamed Rice and Fortune Cookie ($7.50)
This was probably the best of the dishes at the Shanghai Holiday Kitchen. Again, nothing extraordinary – it's basically really tasty barbecue pork. As far as the taste, think boneless Chinese spare ribs. Lots of meat and no real fat. At $7.50 it's somewhere between pricey and a good value and all in all it's just a safe bet if you're in the mood for something like it.
- Spicy Mala Chicken with Steamed Rice and Fortune Cookie ($7.50)
Even staying away from the peppers, this had a real punch to it. Once again, it's fine, but a bit too much like the same thing I'd get if I ordered Chinese take out. I'm again thinking about what they offered at Food & Wine and wondering what happened here. Don't get me wrong – it tasted good enough. I just don't have much else to say about it.
- Sweetened Bubble Milk Tea: Mango Flavored Milk Tea with Tapioca Pearls (non-alcoholic) ($6.95)
This, my friends, is the real reason to hit this Holiday Kitchen. Real bubble tea!! A huge mango flavored milk tea filled with loads of tapioca boba – in a cute cup to boot. I'm all over this drink. If I don't return to the Shanghai Holiday Kitchen for anything else this season, I'll be there for this.
All in all, it was good enough Chinese food and a great, great drink.
Shanghai Holiday Kitchen? Check!